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These 11 Tech Companies Can Help You Hack Air Travel


On The Ground

Aside from the soggy salads typically found at terminal food stands, nothing strikes fear in a traveler’s heart quite like the prospect of a cancelled flight. Freebird provides a safety net for passengers whose flights are cancelled, heavily delayed, or missed due to a late connection, by enabling them to book a new flight with any airline at no additional cost.

Of course, it’d be ideal if we didn’t have to deal with the stress of seeing our travel plans blown up in the first place — Volantio uses data analytics and AI to identify passengers who might be willing to switch out of overbooked flights in exchange for enticing offers. And speaking of incentives, Rocketrip leverages algorithms to determine what business trips should cost, and enables companies to offer rewards to employees who save them money.

In The Air

If you’ve grown tired of watching years-old episodes of How I Met Your Mother on tiny seatback screens during cross-country flights, we’ve got some promising news: you soon may be able to watch years-old episodes of How I Met Your Mother on virtual reality headsets during cross-country flights instead! In September, Alaska Airlines announced it was partnering with immersive media company SkyLights to offer VR headsets to first-class customers on selected flights.

For those of you who’d rather look beyond in-flight entertainment, keep an eye out for A³ by Airbus Group — they’ve got their hands on numerous next-gen projects in the flight space, ranging from electric, self-piloted passenger aircrafts to aerospace manufacturing automation.

In The Bag

It’s probably time to upgrade from that burlap sack you’ve been hauling around, as smart luggage brands like Away are taking over an overhead container near you. But don’t forget about what you’re putting inside that bag — Bagshare connects you with NGOs near your travel destination, so that you can bring them some much-needed supplies along with your swim trunks and Kindles.

It’s Only Fare

Yeah, yeah, we know why you opened this article in the first place: for the deals, man. And we couldn’t blame you, as scores of startups are leveraging their tech know-how to find the most affordable flights around. There’s HitList and Hopper and Scott’s Cheap Flights, all of which alert you when cheap flights are afoot. Skiplagged, meanwhile, made waves in 2015 by beating a lawsuit from United Airlines, allowing them to continue matching passengers with flights that have layovers in the cities where they actually intend to go — for far cheaper prices than they could find for a direct flight.

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